• hwtproject.k0j@gmail.com
  • Ontario, Canada

S.S. No. 3 Bromley Line School

Location: At the northwest corner of Bromley Line Road and Malloy Road intersection.

Evelyn Moore Price in her 1984 book “The History of the Corporation of Westmeath Township“, summarizes this school in this excerpt:

This following was written by Myrtle E.V. Bromley, 1939, and kept in the Bromley Family Records, – from Linda Gervais Bromley. 

 Note from Myrtle Bromley’s writings:

“The below report was prepared and sent to me by Miss Elvie Wilson, a teacher at “Bromley Line” School.  I made a few corrections pertaining to the school and teacher’s house, as advised by my Mother, who lived in the teacher’s house when my Grandfather, John Griffith, taught in the school.”

“According to tradition, there was another school, which was destroyed by fire, – before the first one mentioned above.”

This account was written by Elvie Wilson who taught at Bromley Line No. 3  from 1934 to 1937.

In the beginning it was a gift.  ‘Twas almost ninety years ago that there lived in a clearing in the forest which then covered most of the country, a sturdy pioneer whose wealth, though inconspicuous, yet was great, for his mind was broad and his heart was generous.

Picture the wilderness that this particular section of Renfrew County was in 1848, let memory recall historical tales of hardships of country life in those earlier years to gain a more comprehensive idea of the greatness of the gift, when Mr. James Bromley Sr. faced as were the other settlers immediately after the formation of the school section, with the problem of supplying some means whereby his children might receive at least an elementary education, presented to the school section, one acre of land fully cleared, to be used as the site of a school building.

The task of building the school was not small, but it is said, there was not a man in the community who did not give unsparingly of his time and labour.  Some of these early ratepayers whose manes should not be forgotten were Messrs. Henry, Edward, William and James Bromley (4 sons of James Sr. of above), John Wright Sr., Thomas Brownlee and Patrick Lawless.

Teachers they must have next, and as teachers must be housed, the immediate problem was the building of a home to be used as such.  The work resulted in a school, a sided log building, provided with the lighting facilities common at that time, namely, (one large) window on the east and west sides.  A homemade table and chair was furnished for the coming teacher while double desks sufficed for the pupils.  A cupboard, also homemade by one of the men, completed the furnishings of the school.  Slightly to the east stood the Teacher’s Home also a one-storied log structure, enlarged by the addition of a small cook-house (and later a bedroom).  With the opening of the school came Miss Curran, the first teacher.  Other early teachers were Messrs. John Wiggelsworth, Edward McCagherty, (John McLean, James Nelson, Mr. Knight, John Griffith 1872-1876, Joseph Ross, James Hannah)  Miss Marie Wright and Miss Kearne.

Mr. & Mrs. John Griffith, school teacher.

It is a significant fact that Mr. John Wright Sr., the first Secretary, held this position for thirty-nine consecutive years.  The attendance in the school varied from nine, in its earliest years, to ninety in later years when the country became better settled.  In early days, the road now known as “Bromley Line” was still a marshy spot which must be avoided, and pupils living toward the western end had to walk north to that road which we call Dupuis Line, and down over the trails on the farm of Mr. James Bromley Sr. now belonging to his great-grandson, Mr. Joseph Bromley, then up to the school, thus almost completely circling the building instead of taking the usual one-mile walk straight down the Bromley Line as children do to-day.

Wild animals were common in the woods and more than once, the children on their way to or from school were chased by bears.  The earliest inspection was that of the Methodist minister who was accustomed, on his regular calls at the school, to test the ability of the pupils.  Later he was followed by departmental inspectors Mr. Jinkins being one of the earlier ones, and later Mr. Scott.

For forty years the school weathered the storm, but not without evidences.  By 1884 the ratepayers were faced with the necessity of building a new school.  The old building was torn down years afterwards, the teacher’s home removed (it now stands as Mr. Jos. Bromley’s pig-pen!) A new school was ready for use in November 1884.  This new building, a brick structure with three windows on both east and west sides, and a porch in front, was built on a site slightly to the west of the old one. Mr. Archibald Cameron was in charge of the erection of this building, while Mr. Thomas Wright of Westmeath supervised the masonry.  I am told there is no sign of any break in the foundation after 74 years of service.

By that time the secretaryship had passed into the hands of Mr. David Bromley.  Again worthy of notice is the fact that Mr. Bromley remained Secretary for thirty-six years, and on his resignation twelve years ago, it was given to his son, Mr. Milton Bromley, who is the present Secretary-Treasurer.  Thus this office has been held by members of only two families.

Bromley Line Schoolhouse, photo taken in 1959.

Other men who served on the School board were Mr. John Anderson Sr., Mr. James Bromley Jr., Mr. James Hy Bromley, Mr. Evelid Dupuis, Mr. Pat Lawless, Mr. Hugh Edward Brownlee, Mr. John Gardner Bromley, Mr. Alex Bromley and Mr. Andrew Poupore.  The present members (1935) are Mr. Jos. Bromley, Mr. Alan Brown and Mr. J.T. Dupuis (Chairman).

The first teacher in the new school was Mr. Stewart Snodden.  Others who came shortly afterwards were: Mr. Eddie Nelson from Beachburg, Miss Minnie Dickie from Admaston, Mary Wright , now Mrs. Jas. Keyes, then from Westmeath, and Miss Mary Lyttle from Beachburg.  Mr. Albert Olstead; Mr. Plaunt; Miss Hattie Brown, Beachburg; Miss Susan Moxom, of Forester’s Falls; Miss Annie Gillies; Miss Lottie Brown; Mr. Dick Murdock; Miss Lyle Pounder, Forester’s falls; Miss Eva Chester; Miss Jessie O’Connor, Arnprior; Miss Lyla Ross, Westmeath; Miss Emma Fraser, Westmeath; Miss Alice Fraser, Westmeath; Miss Helen McKim, Ottawa; Miss Lindsey; Miss Jessie Bromley, (who taught twice), Bromley Line; Miss Elvie Wilson; Miss Ross of Cobden; Miss Katy Lalonds, Cobden; Miss Mae McCarthy; Miss Childerhose; Miss Isabel White; Miss Pearl Anderson, Bromley Line; Miss Hannah Dillon; Miss Lydia Connor, Westmeath; Mr. Clarence MacInerney, Cobden; Mrs. Cecile LaBine, LaPasse.

Trustees serving for terms of at least three years are John Anderson; Wm Anderson; Jos. M. Dupuis; Edward Ethier; John E. Bromley; Peter D. Anderson; Harry G. Bromley; Mrs. Robt. Graham; Mrs. Joan E. Bromley; Wm G. Bromley; John Foy; Peter A. Anderson; Lawrence Ethier; Garnet Bromley; na John A. Graham.

The lowest attendance in any year was seven, the highest, seventy.  As the pine bushes on the eastern and southern sides of the school gradually gave way to cleared farmlands, as “Bromley Line” became opened up and travelled more easily, the attendance at school grew.  Salaries as well, steadily rose from one hundred dollars paid first semi-annually, the quarterly, to one thousand dollars paid in monthly installments in 1925.  Almost annually there has been an addition made in the form of some equipment, – this being dependant to a large extent on the initiative of each individual teacher, – until with its single desks, its well-stocked library, it might be considered an example of a fairly-well equipped modern rural school.

In 1938 an addition was built to the school porch. Water toilets were installed therein.  Trustees who had this done were: Jos. T. Dupuis; Jos. G. Bromley; Clyde Brown; M.E. Bromley.

In the fall of 1940 a well was drilled and pump and sink put in the school. Trustees: Clyde Brown, Jos. T. Dupuis;  Wm. Gordon; M.E. Bromley.

Pupils attending school when Susan Moxom taught are as follows: Nellie Anderson, Mary Jane Anderson, Rose Lawless, Mary Ellen Dickson, Clara Dupuis, Myrtle Bromley, Kaziah Ebbs, Harvey Poupore, Annie O’Hare, Sarah Ann Lebine, John Pappin, Annie Cahill, Hattie McLeese William Gordon, Margaret Robinchand, Lessie Lawless, Julia Melancon, Miose Dupuis, Mary Ann Melancon, Stella Jackson, Maxine Dupuis, Violet Brownlee, Eddie Ebbs, Louis Dupuis, Fabiana Dupuis, Celeila Pappin, Marcel Dupuis, Loretta Labine, Carrie Jane Poupore, John Ebbs, Emma Ebbs, Sarah Davidson, Moise Robichand.

Mrs. C.J. McMullen, (Florence Bromley), Westmeath Tweedsmuir Book,  1958

Back Row, L to R:  J.E. Bromley, C. McLeese, N. Anderson, K. Ebbs, M. Dickson, S. LaBine. H. McLeese, L. Lawless, M. Melanson, V. Bromley, F. Dupuis, L. LaBine

Second Row: M. Lyttle, F. Bromley, M. Bromley, M. Gordon, J. Gordon, F. Lyttle, E. Ebbs, M. Anderson, C. Dupuis, H. Poupore, J. Pappin, W. Gordon

Third Row: J. Melanson, S. Jackson, E. Ebbs, C. Pappin, C. Poupore, S. Davidson, R. Lawless, M. Bromley, A. O’Hare, A. Cahill, A. Dupuis, A. Robichaud, C. LaBine

Forth Row: E. Pounder, D. Pappin, A. Dupuis, M. Dupuis, L. Dupuis, J. Ebbs, M. Robichaud, B. Poupore, C. Cahill, G. Bromley, T. Bromley, H. Bromley

Back Row L to R:  W. Moxon, S. Moxon (Teacher), M. McCagherty, C. Poupore, N. Anderson, M. Melanson, C. Melanson

Second Row:  J. Moxon, M. Dupuis, M. Robichaud, H. Bromley, J. McGee, C. Cahill, C. King, P. Anderson, G. Poupore

Third Row:  E. Pounder, M. Dupuis, F. Dupuis, L. Vizena, E. Ebbs, J Melanson, C. Pappin, M. Bromley, B. Melanson

Fourth Row:  J. Robichaud, A. Dupuis, A. Cahill, M. Bromley, F. Bromley. M. Pappin, M. Robichaud, M. Bromley, K. Bromley

The British Empire Reaches into S.S. No. 3

HMS Victory School Shield, 1907.

“England Expects That Every Man Will Do His Duty”

HMS Victory – Admiral Lord Nelson – Why would these names from British navel history impact S.S. No. 3?

Lord Strathcona’s Shield for Canadian Schools, circa 1907,  was found in an old trunk of Ellen Anderson McBride, who had been a student at the school as a child.  The meaning of this Shield was set out in a newspaper article from the Montreal Gazette from September of 1908.  1907 School Shield- The Montreal Gazette.  It was all a part of Colonial Canada and its strong ties to the Empire; and strengthening those ties in the minds of school children. 1907 Lord Strathcona Shield.

1950’s: Township School Area No., Westmeath

At the end of 1950, Bromley Line S.S. No.3; LaPasse S.S. No.4;  and Pleasant Valley S.S. No. 5 were joined in the township school area known as Township School Area No.1, Westmeath. The first five trustees of the area board nominated and elected by acclamation at the township nomination meeting held in Beachburg in December 1950 were: (for a two year term) – Cecil Jeffrey, Robt. McLeese, Garnet Bromley, John A. Graham and Max Grylls.  Milton Bromley was appointed Secretary Treasurer at Inaugural Meeting on January 21, 1951.

The interior of the Bromley Line School was redecorated in 1950.  Trustees then were: Garnet Bromley; Joseph M. Anderson, and John A. Graham. Milton Bromley was Sec. Treas.  Mr. E. Brumm of Pembroke was the contractor. In 1955 a new durasbestos was put on. The contractor was Louis Markus and Sons, Pembroke. The trustees were Cecil Jeffrey, Robt. McLeese; James H. McBride; Clyde Brown; John A. Graham.  In 1956 a new ceiling was installed and the attic insulated.  Contractor was Earl Barr, Beachburg.  The interior was redecorated. Contractor Mr. McConnechey.  Trustees same as in 1955.

1957 Trustee Board as follows: Robert McLeese – Chair; Cecil Jeffrey; James H. McBride; John A. Graham and Teunis DeRuiter. M. Bromley-Sec. Treas.

Some of the Students from S.S. No. 3

Reference is made of one Irvine R. Pounder and John A. Pounder, two sons of Joseph Pounder who  lived where Clyde and Myrtle Brown now reside. Their lives ran parallel for several years as Irvine spent part of the years 1906-1914 on the survey of the Canadian-American Boundary Line and part at collage.  He obtained his B.A. at Toronto University and his degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Chicago.  He is chairmen of the Department of Mathematics in University of Toronto.

John Pounder joined the International Boundary Commission and in 1913 was commissioned a Dominion Land Surveyor.  Many teachers from the Pounder family have instilled knowledge into the minds of young students in the Townships of Ross and Westmeath.

Miss Pearl Anderson, daughter of Izett and Mary Jane Anderson who lived where John and Myrtle Bromley now reside, studied and went as a missionary to Korea.

Dr. Allen Bromley, eldest son of Susan Anderson Bromley and Milton Bromley obtained his Ph.D. at Rochester, N.Y. and is now with the Atomic Energy of Canada at Chalk River.